Friday, March 9, 2012
Another cute picture of a lab...
This puppy has really been helping us to improve the quality and shelf-life of our beers over the past year. It's a dissolved oxygen meter. You place a recently bottled beer on the piercer, punch a tube through the bottle cap, and run the beer through the meter. You can also take the meter out into the brewery and test beer at different points in the process.
Why is it important to control dissolved oxygen? Well, in the first stages of fermentation, the yeast needs a certain level of oxygen in the wort to grow and reproduce properly. Once the beer is done fermenting, the oxygen levels will be very low, and you want to keep it that way. Oxygen will react with the great natural flavor compounds in beer and over time will create those old, stale cardboard flavors you taste in beer that is past its prime.
The DO meter has really helped us dial in our process to fight oxygen pickup. Over the past few months we've improved and modified our filtering process, changed our tank cleaning procedures, and fine-tuned the new Comac filler. We've been able to get our dissolved oxygen levels in the final bottled beer down to the same levels the "big" guys can achieve. All in all, it will mean our bottled beers will taste brewery fresh for much longer. As always, you can tell when we bottled any of our beers by checking the "bottled on" date stamped on the right side of the label, and the date stamped on the case box. Cheers!